Filtering Contaminated Rivers Using Nanotechnology

Area of sustainability: Water

Issue:

Water contamination is a great issue in many industrialized cities. This is especially clear in many Asian countries where the rivers are polluted from their numerous electronic recycling factories.

Technology:

  • Perry Alagappan from Texas has designed a filter that will be able to filter 99% of heavy metals from water using graphene nanotubes. After use, the filter can be rinsed with a vinegar mix and the residue will be pure metal that can be used to produce products like cell phones etc.
  • Utilizing this technology in contaminated rivers and lakes in less developed countries could be very beneficial. It would help make the water cleaner, improving the overall health of the population.
  • Furthermore, this will provide a more sustainable way to produce new metal products. This could in turn make products like cell phones more affordable for the population.

Stakeholders:

  • Government
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Chemical engineers
  • Cell phone manufacturers
  • Wastewater workers
  • Maintenance workers

Implementation

  1. Provide proper education and detailed information about the product
  2. Convince the government to invest in the product
  3. Create efficient residue subtracting procedures

 

Main article: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/aug/27/texas-teenager-water-purifier-toxic-e-waste-pollution

Photo source: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/general-view-of-the-river-bandi-where-pollution-with-heavy-news-photo/159334459#general-view-of-the-river-bandi-where-pollution-with-heavy-metal-picture-id159334459

UNI: ms5584

My comment on another article, https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/09/28/solar-paint/:

“This is an interesting idea in theory. It does raise a couple of questions about the implementation and practicalities, though. How will it harvest and store the energy, and how long will the charge last? Will they be able to make the paint 100% explosion safe? Because whenever hydrogen and oxygen directly interact there will be an explosion unless proper precautions are taken. I could not see anything about these issues in the article.
However, if these things are sorted and made fool-proof, this could be an amazing opportunity for houses to start creating their own fuel source. In turn, this paint could even be used on ships sailing long distances to make the journey more energy efficient, as ships are known to be a massively polluting.”

 

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Handy Pod Toilets: Wetland plants naturally filter human waste

Problem:

Floating villages, mostly in South East Asia, generally flush their waste directly into the water beneath them. As these residents depend entirely on the water they live on (e.g. fishing, bathing etc.), this discharge has grave effects on health due to bacterial diseases.

 

Technology/Article: 

Handy Pods, developed by Wetlands Work, use local plants to filter sewage waste prior to releasing it back into the water. The waste is first filtered through local plants that soak up waste toxins, like E.coli, up to 99.999% without chemicals or power. The remaining cleaned water is then free to be released back into the lake.

An additional benefit is that this technology can be at low cost and using local materials.

This project has already been deployed in Prek Toal, a floating village on a lake in Cambodia, that is home to roughly 100,000 people.

Article: http://inhabitat.com/floating-toilets-filter-human-waste-in-cambodia-naturally-via-wetland-plants/

 

Stakeholders:

  • Wetlands Work
  • Investors
  • NGOs
  • Floating village communities

 

Implementation:

  • Although cheap, Wetlands Work will need investors to raise capital to have this technology deployed in various other floating village communities
  • NGOs will need to implement this technology on the ground (teach communities how to build it, how to maintain it, the health and environmental benefits etc.)
  • Ideally, implementation would target lakes/areas where this technology has already been partially implemented because even if some villages on a given lake have the technology, but others don’t, then they will not get the full health and environmental benefits that come with such filtration.

Can Cultured Meat Save the World?

Sustainability Problem

  • Animal husbandry is responsible for more than 14% of greenhouse gas emissions; 65% of those emissions come from raising cattle for beef and dairy.
  • Producing one kilogram of beef uses 15,000 liters of water and adds 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
  • Livestock and livestock feed occupies up to 30% of the earth’s ice-free land; 1-2 acres of rainforest are clear-cut every second to raise animals; the majority of crops raised are used to feed livestock, not people.
  • 335 million tons of animal waste is generated annually in the US alone. Animal waste is one of the main contributors to water pollution and of dead-zones in rivers and oceans.
  • The world’s population is projected to grow to 9.5 billion by 2060; the global diet has shifted to include more animal protein.

Description of Synthetic or Cultured Meat

  • Although fake meat has been around for decades, it has never successfully entered the market because many products are unpalatable and expensive. The complexity of meat, including the flavor and texture, is difficult to replicate.
  • An emerging method is to grow “animal free” meat. The process begins with the slaughter of an adult cow to extract stem cells, which is use to culture the muscle tissue, and a cow fetus to obtain a serum used to grow the tissue. The DNA from these two animals will be used to grow enough synthetic meat to replace herds of slaughtered cows.
  • Stem cells are fed into a broth consisting of around 100 synthetic nutrients combined with a serum extracted from the cow fetus. As the cells split over the course of a week they form sheets a few millimeters thick. The end result is mixed with other organic compounds, including beet juice, to simulate the texture of beef.
  • Science has not been able to recreate anything resembling steak or chicken, however a beef broth has been produced; it could help feed the world’s growing appetite for animal protein.

Stakeholders

  • Animal farmers
  • Slaughterhouses
  • Meat replicators
  • Meat eaters
  • The environment

Deployment

  • Following additional investments into R&D, “animal free” meat can be produced anywhere using significantly less resources that traditional animal husbandry.
  • The emerging industry’s goal is to create a 25,000 liter bioreactor, large enough to provide meat for up to 10,000 people per year.
  • There are two significant obstacles: the current process is prohibitively expensive and large-scale adoption of replicated meat will take a shift in culture/tastes.

Resources

Water Filters that Can Save Millions

Sustainability Problem

80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions in developing countries and 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.

Technology Article

Revolutionary new graphene water filters could save millions of lives around the world by Katie Medlock, 3/11/2016

  • Researchers have developed a graphene water filter that could provide fresh, safe drinking water to people around the world.
  • The filter cleans water 9 times faster than current filters and is able to filter out bacteria and viruses.
  • Until now, graphene water filters have been expensive and hard to produce on an industrial scale.
  • By creating a viscous graphene oxide, the researchers have given way for the opportunity to filter water on a large scale.

Stakeholders

  • Researchers who created the graphene water filters
  • People in need of clean water
  • Companies who invest in the technology and produce it on a mass-scale

Deployment

  • The filter enters the commercial market.
  • Through donations or public-private partnerships, the filters are sent to developing countries where clean water is needed.
  • The filters are distributed to people in need.

Other sources:

Floating Garbage Bins

Sustainability Problem

Pollution. Marine life is dying at an alarming rate and the whole oceanic ecosystem is being threatened as a result.

Technology Article

Brilliantly Simple Floating Rubbish Bin Revolutionizes Ocean Cleaning Technology by Kristine Mitchell December 25, 2015.

  • Australian surfers created an automated floating rubbish bin that collects garbage, debris, and even oil from the water, and may revolutionize ocean cleaning technology.
  • The system is designed to run constantly and the group aims to sell and install them in marinas, ports, and boat clubs.
  • The group is raising funding through their Indiegogo campaign so they can produce the systems on a large scale.

Stakeholders

  • Seabin Pty Ltd (creators of system)
  • Donators to their Indiegogo campaign
  • Marinas, ports, harbors, boat clubs, etc. that will purchase and install the systems

Deployment

  • Form partnerships/raise funding to produce on a large scale.
  • Sell Seabins to Marinas, ports, boat clubs etc.
  • Aim to get them in rivers and other bodies of water as well.
  • Figure out a better way to power the pump that operates the Seabin (currently electric that costs $20/month)…solar(?).

Other sources:

BaySeparator: Stormwater Treatment

The problem

Storm water is one of the main causes of pollution in cities. All the water runoff that is produced accumulates waste and pollutants throughout the city and is finally poured into rivers and water bodies, affecting environments and natural resources that people depend on.

The technology

The BaySeparator is a water treatment system that treats runoff throughout entire storms, no matter their intensity and duration.

In the following link it is explained how it works with different storm intensities:

http://www.baysaver.com/flash/demo_separator.html

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 21.40.36

The stakeholders

  • Municipalities
  • City governments
  • Water treatment institutions
  • Citizens

Deployment

BaySaver Techonogies Inc. is a company that designs and manufactures stormwater treatment products. They created the BaySeparator in order to improve older systems that treated only the first flush of runoff. The idea was to create a new technology able to treat the stormwater throughout the entire storm.

Source: http://www.baysaver.com/#